Working as a full time Artist is something that would be difficult to achieve but not impossible. It would take a lot of work and drive along with a lot of self-promotion. Using not only social media to widen your audience but also actively setting up solo exhibitions as well as group ones to expand on your connections within the artist community. Advertising and getting involved in local projects, finding studio spaces to complete your work and entering local and national competitions would also be more ways to begin as an Artist.
The average salary of an artist varies on so many factors that there is no real figure, it can range from £15,000-£40,000+ but it changes depending on what shows or exhibitions you have on and how much work you yourself produce. In addition, if you decide to become an artist that exhibits in a gallery there is the added factor of what commission a gallery may take. Most galleries take somewhere around a 50% commission from pieces you sell and others take 40%, however, they rarely take more than 50%. This is definitely something to consider if becoming an Artist is the path I decide to go down, pricing my artwork is something I will need to work on to make sure the pieces are worth selling.
In Leicester there are multiple galleries such as Two Queens, LCB Depot, Attenborough Arts Centre and the New Walk Museum for upcoming Artists maybe wanting to experience having their first exhibitions from University. There are opportunities to volunteer and gain information from these galleries and spaces too. Also near to Leicester there are multiple galleries in Nottingham such as Nottingham Contemporary and the New Art Exchange.
I hope this year to be able to either have a solo or group exhibition but will need to contact the available places in Leicester to see, in the current climate, whether these are still able to go ahead or whether virtual exhibitions are the new way!
Some UK competitions that are available to enter include the BP Portrait Award (enabling the winner to exhibit in the National Portrait Gallery in London) and also Artists magazine annual art competition (allowing the winners work to be featured in the 2021 issue of the magazine). Smaller ones include L.O.V.E. Art in Leicester where they also have an Open Studio.
There are also numerous other competitions from around the world such as Annual National Juried Exhibition by the America Impressionist Society and Paint Annapolis Competition.